The Environment Protection Authority has released South Australia’s State of the Environment Report, making a number of recommendations to help safeguard South Australia’s environment, with a strong focus on preparing for a changing climate.
The Environment Protection Act 1993 requires the Environment Protection Authority to publish a report on the state of the South Australian environment at least every five years.
Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the State Government was considering the EPA’s important report in detail.
“This report provides a wealth of information about the challenges facing our state, that can be used to help shape government policy and actions in the future,” said Minister Speirs.
“I hope that it will also stimulate discussion in our community about our unique and precious environment, and the steps that each of us can take to protect it.
“One of the report’s key recommendations is that the State Government reviews its climate change response, ensuring that climate risks are embedded in all future planning and investment.
“Although there is much work to be done in response to climate change, in the recent state budget, the Marshall Liberal Government made a significant investment in this area and since being elected, we have asked the Premier’s Climate Change Council to develop a detailed strategy.”
Environment Protection Authority Board Presiding Member Catherine Cooper said that the report assesses the state and condition of our major environmental resources and identifies significant trends in environmental quality, and shows that, while South Australia was doing reasonably well, in some areas there are serious challenges to be met.
“The Board is today formally handing the report to the Minister for Environment and Water the Hon David Speirs and making the report available to the South Australian community,” said Ms Cooper.
“Air pollution across most of the state is good most of the time, our inland water quality is generally stable, and the state’s coast and marine environment is generally quite good. But many of our native plant and animal species are in trouble and at risk of extinction.
“We have known for some time that many of our native plants and animals are at risk of extinction due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and climate change will only worsen that, progressively changing the landscape and the species that can survive here.
“But we can also be proud of achievements in South Australia, with an increasing amount of wastewater and stormwater being re-used, leading to improvements in coastal water quality and seagrass health. And while managing our waste continues to be a huge challenge, South Australia can be proud of having one of the best recycling rates in the world.”
The report includes data from the Tracking changes in South Australia’s environment report, issued last month.
Other recommendations in the report include a review of how coast and sea levels are monitored, continuing to reduce waste and recover resources, and initiatives to safeguard the health of significant rivers and catchments.
The 2018 State of the Environment Report is available online at https://www.epa.sa.gov.au/data_and_publications/state_of_the_environment_reporting